Warner Archive goes Blu!!!

Discussion in 'High Definition' started by Nailwraps, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. zompirejoe

    zompirejoe Active Member

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    Awesome ! I just grabbed five blu rays myself. You cannot beat this price.
     
  2. buck135

    buck135 Kanamit

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  3. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    This one stung, but I can't wait for the package to arrive. It took all the willpower I had not to grab several of these titles before now. Finally The Thing, the three Dracula titles, Children of the Damned, Bad Ronald, The Swarm, and Looker will be mine. I grabbed several Tarzan and noir titles, too. Good times!
     
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  4. CPT HOOK

    CPT HOOK Well-Known Member

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    Worth mentioning, you don't have to buy in intervals of 4. Anything over 4 will be $11.
     
  5. Dianabol5mg

    Dianabol5mg New Member

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    If Looks Could Kill needs a Blu ray release immediately. Greico has been overlooked by Warner for far too long.
     
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  6. Horrorphilly

    Horrorphilly Active Member

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    Leatherface BD
    Dracula A.D. BD
    The Satanic Rites of Dracula BD
    Dracula BD

    Its nice to put a dent in my Hammer Drac collection.
     
  7. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    As the owner of the British and Warner blus of Horror of Dracula, I wanted to throw my two cents into the transfer discussion. For me, the Warner presentation is FAR superior. Yes, it's substantially darker--but that darkness really highlights how beautifully lit and atmospheric this film can be. I have no idea how it looked during its initial theatrical run, but this certainly seems more in line with how a Dracula film should look. There are definitely some crushed blacks, but they're a small price to pay for the spooky, moody vibe of this transfer. The long problematic day-for-night scenes look much less distracting now, and darker scenes like Harker's early foray into the crypt look sensationally eerie and scary. The noirish lighting scheme never really leapt out at me before, but it does here. Watch the way characters move through intermittent heavy shadows on the new disc. With the less-enveloping black levels of every other previous transfer, nothing ever really disappeared in the shadows. Not so now. Colors are also much lusher and more vibrant--with none of the unnatural bluish hue that dominates nearly every scene in the British transfer. I know Robert Harris had critical words for this transfer. I really disagree with him on this one. The Warner transfer looks extremely filmic and appropriate for the material. Aside from a couple overly dark daytime interiors, I think the Warner transfer is vastly superior. It definitely pushes the limits of acceptable darkness, so if your set isn't calibrated, you may lose too much in the shadows. If ever there was a good reason to embark on a thorough calibration, this is it. You'll thank yourself when you get to the finish line.

    Shame they didn't include the integrated Japanese footage from the longer British transfer, but it's not a deal-breaker for me. I'll retain the British disc for the extras, but the Warner presentation is the only one for me now. As always, your mileage may vary.
     
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  8. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    I can agree. It's a tough choice. And for comparison I would point to Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula controversy with its much darker transfer with inky blacks that Don May Jr. even praised at the time (I don't know how he feels about that now a decade later). Inky blacks are spectacular when done well. Part of the problem is that such a precisely timed transfer requires a perfectly calibrated playback in ideal viewing conditions. I.E. a room in total darkness. I would assume that Robert Harris is more than well aware of that. His comments on WB's Dracula shadows were rather vague. Maybe just a broader adjustment to the contrast curve to smooth out the drop off would be all that need be done to satisfy him.

    The big take away I got out of Robert Harris's review is that WB was only using the "easily attainable elements"; apparently not the best elements. So what does that mean? There's been some controversy since the beginning of Hammer's restorations that Dracula and especially Frankenstein must have better elements available. But a lot of that speculation was on fans' part. To have Harris confirm that is illuminating and my best guess as to WHY he so openly critiqued it was a subtle pitch to George Feltenstein that a modern restoration need be done and Robert Harris is the man to do it.

    So I want to see what happens to Frankenstein. If Harris's concerns fell on death ears we'll get Frankenstein this year (or next) from that same old transfer. If not I think Frank may be the first in the works to get a fresh new 4k restoration from superior elements while WB squeezes a few more pennies from their Dracula efforts. Then we may see Dracula again further down the road with a 4k restoration. And maybe by then we'll be seeing WB's back catalog make it to UHD!

    That's my dim hope anyways. And maybe Harris will say, "Why not Fearless Vampire Killers while I'm at it?" Because damn it a boy can dream (of Sharon Tate) can't he?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Watching the new disc was really a shocker--and I agree that it carries scary implications. Like most of us, I've been watching this film for years. I've probably seen it 25 times previously. This new transfer looks NOTHING like any of the previous transfers, yet it seems like it might be the most accurate to the intended theatrical look. Warner says they consulted dye-transfer Technicolor prints for reference, which should be ideal since prints of this type SHOULD retain the vast majority of its original qualities. Single-strip color processes are notorious for fading and shifting. Properly stored, a Technicolor print of that type SHOULDN'T deteriorate that way. So if Warner based the new transfer on that type of print, it SHOULD accurately represent the original theatrical look.

    So what does it all mean? It seems to mean that we've been watching wildly inaccurate presentations of this film for many, many years. It further suggests that MANY films have been improperly transferred for home video. Archival elements vary wildly--and most films don't have surviving Technicolor dye-transfer prints. Obviously, most films were NEVER printed on that stock. So how those films originally looked is anyone's guess.

    All of this makes me think of the long-running Halloween color timing debate. Too many people have attempted to discount the Cundy-approved THX transfer because it doesn't look like earlier home video versions. If the new transfer of Horror of Dracula is closer to correct (and the evidence SEEMS to suggest it is), the fact that the THX transfer of Halloween is an outlier has ZERO relevance to the argument of whether or not it's "correct." Chances are, it never looked anything close to "correct" before the THX transfer.

    Calibration and home entertainment technology are a huge piece of the transfer puzzle. It's common knowledge that contrast boosting was always the norm in the VHS and early digital age. Home equipment couldn't render the contrast of a projected 35 mm image, so contrast was boosted so people could see information that couldn't be accurately rendered on old-school tube TVs. Sadly, that practice undoubtedly continued--and may STILL continue. I have a funny feeling that lots of classic films are WAY too bright in their current home video incarnations. Horror of Dracula never looked too bright to me in the past. But the new transfer is a revelation, and it makes this film more effective. If Jack Asher was still around, I'll bet he'd be tickled to see this film looking so striking. The painstaking attention to detail he devoted to lighting this film is much more apparent on the new release.

    I share your hopes for improved transfers of other Hammer classics.
     
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